Housing

Landlord Tory MPs are trying to 'gut' protections for private renters, analysis shows

Landlord MPs are trying to 'dilute' the contents of the Renters Reform Bill, tenant’s rights campaigners have warned

no-fault evictions

While the Renters Reform Bill is set to continue its passage through Parliament, court reforms mean an indefinite delay to the long-promised end to no-fault evictions. Image: Allan Vega / Unsplash

Landlord Tory MPs are trying to ‘gut’ the long-awaited Renters Reform Bill, new analysis shows.

After nearly five years of promises, the Renters Reform Bill – which will axe no-fault evictions, as known as Section 21 evictions, and strengthen the rights of tenants – has still not passed into law.

Housing secretary Michael Gove has promised to scrap the hated Section 21 evictions by the next general election. But landlord MPs are trying to “dilute” the bill’s contents, tenant’s rights campaigners have warned – including five of the ten MPs in England with the largest landlord portfolios.

Nick Fletcher (who owns 10 privately rented properties), Marco Longhi (10), Bob Blackman (6), James Gray (4) and Sir Geoffrey Clifton Brown (5) are part of a group of 40 Conservative backbenchers aiming to substantially weaken the bill.

Their amendments would indefinitely postpone the bill’s implementation, allow the use of ‘hearsay’ evidence in eviction cases related to antisocial behaviour, and set a minimum six-month occupancy requirement for tenants before they can terminate their tenancy.

Being a landlord “doesn’t mean you can’t be an MP,” said Tom Darling, campaign manager of the Renter’s Reform Coalition – but landlord MPs have a “particular duty” to reform the private rental sector.

“It is therefore extremely concerning to see these MPs signing up to amendments that would render significant parts of the legislation pointless,” he said.

“What’s more, the government has now invested so much politically in this issue that we are concerned they might be looking to make concessions to these rebels to pass the bill quickly and say they have abolished no-fault evictions – despite in reality introducing a system that won’t be much better.”

Of the 40 MPs supporting the amendments, some 30% are landlords. This is significantly higher than the percentage of English MPs in the House of Commons who are landlords, which is 17%.

As parliamentarians squabble over the bill’s contents, renters continue to suffer. Some 9,457 households in England saw their homes repossessed by county court bailiffs after receiving a Section 21 eviction notice last year.

A total of 26,000 households have been evicted by county court bailiffs in this way since April 2019, when the Conservatives first announced plans to scrap the notices.

The human toll of no-fault evictions is huge. Previously, the Big Issue has spoken to a pensioner couple issued four notices in a year, a mum who feared that her children would end up living in a tent, and a family who were served the eviction on Christmas Eve.

Meanwhile, the government continues to pour money into supporting landlords. Analysis released earlier this month suggested that the government will pay an estimated £70bn in housing benefit and other support to private landlords in the next five years.

Renters – who are facing record high rents and a growing housing crisis – deserve better, said Darling.

“The truth is the bill, as written, is not going to be a silver bullet,” he said. “In reality we need reform that goes much further than the legislation as it stands – with longer tenancies, more time for renters to find a new home when evictions do happen, higher penalties for unscrupulous landlords, and a cap on rent increases to prevent unaffordable rent hikes becoming, in effect, no-fault evictions.

“The government will be sorely mistaken if it thinks it can pass a toothless bill written by landlords and then get a pat on the back.”

Support the Big Issue

For over 30 years, the Big Issue has been committed to ending poverty in the UK. In 2024, our work is needed more than ever. Find out how you can support the Big Issue today.
Vendor martin Hawes

Recommended for you

View all
Over 80,000 households put at risk of homelessness from no-fault evictions since Tory ban pledge
Renters Reform Bill campaigners call for the end of no-fault evictions
RENTING

Over 80,000 households put at risk of homelessness from no-fault evictions since Tory ban pledge

Dropping leasehold pledge could cost Labour millions of votes, campaigners warn: 'Expect consequences'
Cladding protest in Westminster
Housing

Dropping leasehold pledge could cost Labour millions of votes, campaigners warn: 'Expect consequences'

'It's unforgivable': Michael Gove served 'eviction notice' by protesters over rising homelessness
DLUHC protest by HASL gives Michael Gove eviction notice
Homelessness

'It's unforgivable': Michael Gove served 'eviction notice' by protesters over rising homelessness

Criminal Justice Bill: Plan to criminalise rough sleeping will 'punish people with nowhere to go'
Tents in Brighton for rough sleepers who face being criminalised under the Criminal Justice Bill
Rough sleeping

Criminal Justice Bill: Plan to criminalise rough sleeping will 'punish people with nowhere to go'

Most Popular

Read All
Renters pay their landlords' buy-to-let mortgages, so they should get a share of the profits
Renters: A mortgage lender's window advertising buy-to-let products
1.

Renters pay their landlords' buy-to-let mortgages, so they should get a share of the profits

Exclusive: Disabled people are 'set up to fail' by the DWP in target-driven disability benefits system, whistleblowers reveal
Pound coins on a piece of paper with disability living allowancve
2.

Exclusive: Disabled people are 'set up to fail' by the DWP in target-driven disability benefits system, whistleblowers reveal

Cost of living payment 2024: Where to get help now the scheme is over
next dwp cost of living payment 2023
3.

Cost of living payment 2024: Where to get help now the scheme is over

Strike dates 2023: From train drivers to NHS doctors, here are the dates to know
4.

Strike dates 2023: From train drivers to NHS doctors, here are the dates to know